Tag Archives: Death

Drop The Facade

27 Feb

Melancholia shrouds my soul

Life stormy on the brink of a hell hole

fingers burning with black flames

heavy heart laden with pain

tears dripping amulets of blood

life ebbing a drought not floods

cases of anarchy explode in my brain

counting on Two, keeping me sane

a life faltering, falling free

enclosed in a den of devilish men

Take a knife and slice the cord

shabby4

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A candle flickers no more

7 Jul

A candle for Sandra

A poem created in memory of Sandra.

A candle that flickers in a darkened room

Alone sits a woman shrouded in gloom

A friend I treasured, a woman of strength

that fell from her heart with tragic events

A lost husband

A daughter in youth

A sister in health

that went in her sleep

A fall out I had and never reclaimed

A woman of substance

that drained from her soul

She’s gone to the  Heavens

A sign from above

She’ll meet all her Loved Ones

united in Death

A smouldering candle

flickers no more.

The Learned Kat

Crying because I’m chopping onions

22 Jun

 

I’m not weeping because

I miss you

I’m crying because I’m

chopping onions

I’m not lonely because

you’re not here

I’m cooking the dishes

you used to prepare

I’m not nostalgic with

memories of you

I’m trying to recall all

your recipes

I’m not wondering about what

you would say

I’m pondering on how it would taste

 

I’m not sorry

you left me

I rue the day

you went

I’m not looking for comfort in

your dishes

I’m trying to recapture

your essence

I’m not searching for

your happy look

I should place your recipes

in a book.

 

I wrote this poem whilst cooking a curry which was taught to me by my mother. She passed away three years ago. I find cooking or baking, therapeutic, a distraction. There IS comfort in food which is prepared and cooked with the extra ingredients of warmth, love, and happiness. I’m not saying it lessens the burden of bereavement, but it does help me to ease the pain.

The Learned Kat

 

 

 

Sleep

16 Jun

035

Sleep sings to me

as the day draws to an end

dreams call to me as I weep

memories that bring joy to me shatter

as voices tread on my soul as I sleep

 

The Learned Kat

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: A review

1 Apr

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“The Circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it…It is simply there, when yesterday it was not” 

So reads the blurb on the back cover of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

I was intrigued. I turned to the front cover and was still unsure. I opened the book and skimmed through several paragraphs. I turned to the cover again. I was swayed by the Edwardian/Victorian feel of the image used and decided this was a book worth reading.

So, I sat down and read it. I enjoyed the imagery, the introduction of many characters, the game/challenge or competition that was set up. The premise of the novel is that two young children, Marco Alisdair and his counterpart Celia Bowen, are chosen to be trained, mentored and taught how to be inventive with the use of magic. As readers. we are drawn into a whimsical world of fantasy, magic and beautiful illusions. We share the same thoughts as the performers, followers of the Circus known as “rêveurs”, who all dress in black but are distinguishable with a dash of a red item like a red scarf, rose, umbrella or handkerchief and other speculators who do not quite know how the magic of the circus exists.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  The initial objective appeared to be that Marco and Celia, with their respective mentors, experience and training in their own separate arenas and not knowing of one another for years, would eventually meet and it would culminate in an explosive end game. However, that was not meant to be…

It seemed to lull me into a false sense of security: with the unexpected death of two of the characters, I thought the novel would become a murder mystery. However, as the story unravelled, it appeared to change direction and the language appeared to be stilted and more contemporary in style. It seemed as if Erin Morgenstern was rushed by her agent to try and end the novel or find some sort of resolution. Two thirds of the novel flowed really well, the style of writing, the plots and sub-plots, the use of a diverse range of colourful and interesting characters and the dream like quality of each circus tent. Even having “followers” of the circus appeared to be a social statement on our perspective or views on the world of “celebrity”. That was all read in good faith. Then, when I was hoping or expecting a great climax, a love connection is made between Marco and Celia. The Night Circus becomes their way of symbolising their love, devotion and commitment to one another without having to be in each other’s company. That’s when I thought the novel became a little twee and saccharine in content and substance.

There are elements, characters and scenes which don’t really add anything to the narrative but are stitched together to carry it along.

I liked the overall reading experience of the novel, the manner in which scenes are created or depicted, the way it captured my imagination  and the writing style. But I was left feeling disappointed with the eventual culmination of the tale, the resolution of the two main characters. and the  ending of The Night Circus.

Saying that, I would still keep it in my book collection.

The Learned Kat

Syria & The Playstation Generation

27 Mar

It’s snowing. It has been snowing everyday since last Friday and we are fed up and cold. Fed up with the fact that the cold penetrates through the walls and no matter what we do, no matter how high we set the temperature on the thermostat or combination boiler, the chill remains and we worry about the utility bills and how much it will cost to keep the heating on as the prices are spiralling out of control and the vulnerable and elderly are left to fend for themselves…The roads are icy and only the other day, my other half slipped and fell onto his side. There are people slipping and sliding everywhere and some are even literally snowed under or in their own houses. There have been reports of several deaths and some communities losing power supplies for several days…The Met Office reports that the cold snap and Siberian type weather maybe here until mid-April.

In Birmingham alone, 100 schools closed down due to the inclement weather and many stores have either closed due to lack of staff or slashing prices due to lack of sales. Many people have reported that they are not able to get into work due to their cars not being able to start, trains running late, flu or a number of other excuses or reasons. Valid or not, I’m not sure… I know I sympathise with those communities who are stranded up North or on several isles of the UK. The rest just seems petty. The snow in the City is not that deep. Maybe about 10cm or just above the ankle. But it seems as if life comes to a standstill…

Rock star and former hell raiser Rod Stewart (not that I’m a fan of his) was being interviewed last Friday on The Breakfast News by Charlie Stayt. Rod was asked about  a story in which it was reported that he had a swimming pool filled with blancmange and $100 bills thrown in so that his daughter and her friends could dive in to retrieve the money. Of course, Rod dismissed the story as newspaper fodder, stating that his children are brought up properly: ” to work hard and are allowed a small allowance”. He said children today “know the price of everything and value nothing!”

How right he is, I thought.

As it happens, the next day I spoke to  —–, a mother and business woman of two daughters.  She was attempting to scrub clean the stains off a pair of UGG boots, which cost £200. They belonged to her 16 year old daughter but unbeknownst to her, her 21 year old sister had borrowed them, walked in the snow, and had accidentally damaged the worth of the boots. There ensued a horrendous row and arguments apparently. So mum ended up cleaning the boots because if the perpetrator ( the older sibling) of the whole saga was to do it herself, “she would not do it properly”. “You’re spoiling the kids.” I said. “That’s what parents do” she replied. And carried on brushing and buffing the boots.

We are breeding a “I want” culture and there are many services and marketing brands out there that caters to these demands. LoveFilm , for example. caters for Games Consoles such as Wii, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Smart Televisions, Blu-Ray Players, Tablets like Kindle and iPad and other devices such as PC, and set top box. When I was a child or even in my teen years, having one an item like the ZX Spectrum within the home, never mind the bedroom, was deemed to be a luxury. Today, children want them all. If not in the bedroom, in the lounge or kitchen or on their mobile.

The Playstation Generation would rather VIEW their lives away rather than DO.

In complete contrast, The Channel 4 News on Monday 25 March at 7pm ran a news story on Syria. I have to admit I am somewhat ignorant about Syria, its histories and conflicts, the current crisis. But I do know that the story which it covered had a deeply disturbing and profound effect on me. It formed part of a short series of films by German filmmaker Marcel Mettelzefan. The news reporter, Jon Snow, provided the introduction and  verbal warning to say that the item contained distressing images.

No matter what was going on around them, the young children and teenagers continued their lives as normal as possible. They didn’t whine, complain or show signs of fatigue. They didn’t WANT anything. Didn’t want anything but peace and the war to stop.

I saw children, young adults and older men pull dead, bloated bodies out of the river. Women crying and children playing in the debris and the remains of an exploded bomb…

I saw innocent young children talk as if they were mature beyond their years, boys as young as 11 wipe away the blood stains of a wounded adult. I heard a child say that when he first saw the blood running, he was scared and frightened but afterwards, he saw the blood “like running water”.

I saw a brave little boy lying dead on a table, his face contorted with shock and pain.

As I said before, The Playstation Generation would rather VIEW their lives away rather than DO.

The Learned Kat

View :  Aleppo: a city abandoned by the world? on link.brightcove.com

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obrecht

11 Mar

This book was recommended by my local book club, the Bearwood Bookworms. I wasn’t too sure about the choice made as we’d only finished reading The Leopard (Giuseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa) and someone had mentioned The White Tiger (Aravind Adiga).

There seemed to have been a big cat/feline theme going on…

I requested a copy from my local library and when I got home, I started to read it:

A young female doctor goes in search of her late grandfathers’ last resting place and his personal belongings. She describes her relationship with her grandfather, who was also a doctor, and the associated memories of him. This is interspersed with him telling her stories of his youth and his subsequent meetings with “the deathless man”.

The tiger of the novel is a relatively tamed species, which is kept in a zoo that the young doctor frequently visited with her granddad. manages to escape from a bombed zoo and in its attempt for survival, prowls the land in search of food and shelter. It is in one village that the tiger is seen, and “hunters” are dispatched to kill it. Unbeknownst to the local villagers, a deaf-mute woman, who also happens to be an “Outsider” finds a way to feed and care for the tiger. This leads to speculation, alienation and fabrication.

The story is interwoven with characters from different eras, but at the same time, the themes of desperation, survival, dying/death, fear and quality of life remains. There is uncertainty, trying to draw out fact from fiction, the question of cultural identity and the role of compassion and humanity in times of destruction.

I wouldn’t say he was a central character, but because he appears several times as a “constant”  throughout the novel, the “deathless man” has to have a mention as a very clever literary device. To me, the deathless man is symbolic of what the old doctor had known for most of his life: death which is known and unknown. For most of his young life, the doctor had either seen, heard or witnessed death. It was his experiences that drew him to try and help people and keep them alive. But it was also his knowledge of observing the signs and symptoms of death,  dying and the search for salvation that seemed to allow him to have pleasant conversations with the deathless man. Having the figure of the deathless man in the stories seemed to make the doctor, although sceptical and angry at the initial meeting, begin to develop  a relationship of some sorts over the years. Sporadic meetings allowed the doctor to question why the deathless man would come to him and what he gained from his visits. I think the deathless man represented the doctors own conscience, as he would look around during the war years and would question the futility of it all. It was at these times that the deathless man would appear and they would either argue or wrestle with what may be the consciousness.

The deathless man offers hope and preparation, not fear and uncertainty. He is a quietly strong, confident and practical being. In his own way, like the doctor, he offers salvation, resolution and peace. Maybe because the doctor has seen so much death in his time, that is why he would not accept it in a “lifeform!” It makes it more tangible and “real”. It is there, waiting and ready for everyone no matter what the circumstances.

Relationships are explored, either superficial or deep, loss and love are prominent in the telling of the search for the grandfather. Friendship, support and understanding are also key issues which Tea Obrecht explores with passion and instinct.

Having won the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011, I can now fully understand and appreciate why. The author draws you into a story within a story. Descriptive, seamless and enchanting, Obrecht relates the horrors of modern day wars with the wars of yesteryear. It was similar to The Book Thief ( Markus Zusak) and The Diary of Anne Frank but told through the style of The Arabian Nights. Full of sadness, melancholia, dark humour and shocking endings for some of the characters, it combined fables and folklore within communities bombarded by war, death, segregation, religion, superstition, fear and possibly ignorance.

My initial uncertainty was unfounded. It was an engrossing, page turner and at the end, I was overcome with the desire or wish to see this novel turned into a film. Every bookshelf ought to have a copy.

The Learned Kat